National Academy of Sciences Elects Four Penn Professors

Four faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania have been elected members of the National Academy of Sciences for “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

The new Penn members are Yale E. Goldman and Mitchell A. Lazar of the Perelman School of Medicine, Robert Seyfarth of the School of Arts & Sciences and Sarah Tishkoff, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with appointments in Medicine and Arts & Sciences.

Goldman, Lazar, Seyfarth and Tishkoff are part of the 2017 Academy class, consisting of 84 members and 21 foreign associates. NAS election is considered one of the highest honors accorded an engineer or scientist in the United States.

​​​​​​​Goldman is a professor of physiology, former director of the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute and associate director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center. His laboratory is widely renowned for its studies of molecular motors and protein synthesis.

Lazar is the Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases; founding director of the Penn Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; and chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. His groundbreaking research has uncovered genetic and epigenomic mechanisms by which the environment interacts with the genome to regulate circadian rhythms and metabolism and how these impact the epidemics of obesity and diabetes. 

Seyfarth, a professor of psychology who has retired but remains an active researcher, is a specialist in animal behavior and communication. With his wife, Dorothy Cheney, a professor of biology at Penn who was elected to the NAS in 2015, Seyfarth has conducted field studies of monkeys and apes in their natural habitats. Focusing on a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta of Botswana, he has worked to clarify how nonhuman primate relationships, communication and cognition differ from humans and to explore how and why these animals form close social bonds.

Tishkoff, the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology, studies human genetic diversity, specifically that of African populations, blending field, lab and computational approaches. Her work has not only elucidated African population history but also how genetic variation affects traits such as disease susceptibility or ability to metabolize drugs.

A complete list of the 2017 Academy members is available online.

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